More than ‘relationships’ need to turn Irish eyes toward Israel


Dear Editor:

I read, with great interest, the article “Irish eyes aren’t smiling on Israel” [The Jewish Star, June 28] and the quote from Paddy Monaghan asserting that the Irish “are relational people. Israel needs to take the time to explain…”

Unfortunately, my two trips to Dublin, in the 1970s and 1982, convinced me otherwise.

My wife, Prof. Barbara Gluck, who wrote her dissertation on and had a University Press publish her book on James Joyce and Samuel Becket (both Irishmen who left their native country), wanted to visit Dublin in response to her expertise on the subject. On our first trip we visited Trinity College where Joyce had studied and the docent showing the various aspects of the University refused to discuss James Joyce, stating, “I will not discuss that infidel…” That much for rationality and relationality on one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, one of their own.

By 1982, Ireland recognizes that money could be made marketing Joyce, and organized a Joyce fest honoring my wife, among others, as a “Joyce Scholar.”

By now,we had made friends and enjoyed another Shabbat with the Orthodox Jewish Community (five synagogues,with a Circuit Chief Rabbi who takes turns every Shabbat at the different synagogues). But it was also the time that Israel fought its war in Lebanon and the hatred of the Irish against the Jews was more than palpable.

A Jewish nurse left the operating room because the anti-Semitic comments were so caustic she could not continue. She was among the hundreds, if not thousands, who left Dublin for Israel after that war. (Never mind that it was Christians who massacred the Palestinians.The Irish refused to recognize this and blamed it on the Jews.) The pubs we visited with fellow scholars, many of whom were Jewish, were saturated with anti-Jewish comments made by the local people.

It is not for nought that James Joyce’s most famous character, Bloom,is Jewish ( although his father and/or grandfather had already converted to Catholicism) and is made to suffer anti-Semitic barbs. Joyce identifies with Bloom and is sympathetic to his suffering. Yet, Joyce’s book was published in 1922,when no state of Israel existed, so the Irish hatred is pure Catholic vitriol, not political.

Instead of identifying with their and Israel’s common enemy, Britain,they preferred to denigrate the Jews when Israel’s birth was being aborted by the British.

I am pleasantly surprised there is an Irish Christian Friends of Israel. But I am far from confident that the Israelis and the Jews will ever get a receptive ear or the time from the Irish “to explain the rightness of their case.”

—Simon B. Gluck

The president, not

Dunetz view, changed

To the editor:

In 2007, Jeff Dunetz wrote on his blog that Congress needed to pass legislation removing from FISA court supervision any surveillance involving phone calls made to or including persons outside of the United States. He claimed Congressional Democrats were stalling such legislation, writing that “[Congressional Democrats] would rather see people jumping out of a building like they did on 9/11 then monitor some international e-mails or phone calls.” (http://goo.gl/FgVma

That legislation, strongly supported by the Bush administration, was the basis of PRISM.

In 2004, President Bush signed an Executive Order called the President’s Health Information Technology Plan, to expand the use of electronic medical records. The reasons are obvious. The ability of doctors to more easily share patient records is more efficient, safer, and in the long run, much less expensive. Jeff Dunetz sees it as a government takeover conspiracy theory, though he appears to have ignored it in 2004.

One wonders: Did Jeff Dunetz change his mind, or is it just that the party in the White House changed? —Michael Brenner